Whenever I pass through Waterton’s park gates, an electric, high vibin’ feeling washes over me and supercharges my cells with excitement. I feel so tuned in and turned on there! Some places are just like that, hey?
My long weekend in my fave Rocky Mountain retreat began Friday night in the townsite’s campground. It was my first time camping there and although it’s not the most private or quiet space, the convenience can’t be beat. Do you remember when I went to Winnipeg last year for a wedding? That same couple (Lindsay & Colin + their parents) were already camping there so we crashed at their site.
On Saturday morning, I stopped by Larkspur coffee house on my way to grab boat tickets.
They have a peanut butter grilled cheese sandwich that I NEED asap. It sounds weird and kind of gross, which means I must try it.
I strolled around the marina with my coffee until it was time to get ready for a day hike with Rachel. Finally! The stars aligned and we were able to make our crazy schedules work.
We decided to do Lakeshore Trail because it’s easy and you get to experience a bunch of beaches along the way. We spent the entire afternoon laughing, chatting about everything under the sun. The kilometres sure fly by when you’re in good company.
Here we are at the Canadian/US border. If you plan on doing this hike, don’t forget your passport! Despite being in a peace park, the stricter border laws require everyone to go through customs at the Goat Haunt ranger station now. If you don’t check in, you face a $5000 fine and an arrest. Okay, dial it back Trump. When we arrived at the ranger station, homeland security (the guy was simultaneously smoking a cigarette and checking/stamping our passports) asked us what we were “doing there”. Me: “Um, what do you think we’re doing?”
It was like he thought we just fell out of the sky and landed there.
Before we arrived at the ranger station, we thought it would be fun to jump into the icy river below a suspension bridge.
Rachel let me down and didn’t jump in! 😀 It was so cold that I screamed bloody murder upon surfacing. I can’t even describe how awful the sensation is.
Our nice little friend date wrapped up at the Taco Bar and when Rachel left, the gang all reconvened to watch the fights at Thirsty Bear. We all drank waaayyyy too much (it happens) and eventually we put ourselves to bed around midnight as we had a long hike planned the following morning.
I was definitely still feelin it when we began our adventure at Cameron Lake. I can’t get over how clear and clean Waterton’s lakes are.
We parked at Cameron Lake and hiked back to town via Alderson-Carthew trail. GUYS. I get why everyone says this is *the* best hike in the park. (Yes, even more so than Crypt Lake) It’s insaaaaaanely beautiful and I sure do appreciate a point to point trail.
This is the only hike I’ve done where there is more elevation loss than gain. For the first 8km, it’s gradual switchbacks to a peak, then you descend into a valley passing diverse desert-like landscape, a handful of deep blue and emerald lakes, streams and lush, green forest. There were moments where I felt like I was hiking through a Japanese zen garden.
The last 5km are a bit of a boring drag with no views, but I find most hikes feel tiresome and blah at the end.
It only took us 5.5 hours to power through it, and we took several breaks along the way. Definitely add Alderson-Carthew to an upcoming Waterton trip – you’ll love it.
I wanted to soak up as much Waterton as possible before driving back to Calgary on Monday. Once the camping gear was loaded into the car, I was in the mood to run. I thought about running laps around the beach, but decided to challenge myself and trail ran to Bertha Lake. I want to get better at building my trail running endurance and strength! Although there’s only about 1500 feet of elevation gain total, it still burned my legs and lungs like crazy. After Bertha Falls, that’s where the real work begins. I’d run one switch back, stop, catch my breath and go again. It was like doing strength intervals the entire way up. I forgot my backpack AND bear spray belt at home, so I had to carry my bear spray in hand which was annoying.
I’m always sad to leave Waterton, but hopefully I can make it back for a fall camping trip before snow starts to fly.
Over to you:
Which places feel like magic to you?